Israeli forces shoot and kill 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Beit Ummar

Feb 14, 2024
16-year-old Neehel Ziad Mohammad Bregheith is the 100th Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank since October 7. (Photo: Courtesy of the Bregheith family)

Ramallah, February 14, 2024—Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy today in the southern occupied West Bank.

Neehel Ziad Mohammad Bregheith, 16, was shot in the head by Israeli forces around 2 p.m. on February 14 in the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar, northwest of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Neehel sustained a gunshot wound to the right side of his head, with the bullet exiting out the left side, as he and other students were leaving school for the day amidst intermittent confrontations with Israeli soldiers. Neehel was initially taken to a medical center in Beit Ummar and later brought by ambulance to the National Hospital in Hebron where he was pronounced dead around 4 p.m.

Israeli forces entered Beit Ummar around 12 p.m. and snipers deployed on the rooftops of buildings while other Israeli soldiers deployed on the streets, according to information collected by DCIP. Confrontations ensued between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents and Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition. More than 10 injuries were reported, including at least two serious injuries resulting from live ammunition. Israeli forces withdrew to the main entrance of Beit Ummar near Route 60 around 4 p.m. 

“Decades of systemic impunity has created a situation where Israeli forces shoot to kill without limit,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “As Palestinian children are increasingly targets in the West Bank,  Israeli forces’ rules of engagement seemingly allow direct targeting of Palestinian children where no threat exists to justify the use of intentional lethal force.”

100 Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to documentation collected by DCIP, when the Israeli military began a full-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Iron Swords.

Israeli forces and settlers have killed 19 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in 2024, including two United States citizens, according to documentation collected by DCIP. 

Israeli forces shot dead Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour, 17, a U.S. citizen, on February 10 in the central occupied West Bank. In January, 17-year-old Palestinian-American Tawfiq Hafez Tawfiq Ajaq was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank as an Israeli settler and Israeli soldiers opened fire on him, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers killed at least 121 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by DCIP. Israeli forces and settlers shot and killed 103 Palestinian children with live ammunition, 13 Palestinian children were killed in drone strikes, four Palestinian children were killed by missiles fired from a U.S.-sourced Apache attack helicopter, and one child was killed in an Israeli warplane airstrike.

Under international law, intentional lethal force is only justified in circumstances where a direct threat to life or of serious injury is present. However, investigations and evidence collected by DCIP regularly suggest that Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian children in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings.

News | Fatalities and Injuries
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